Royal Obituary: Prince Johan Friso Dies after 18 Months in Comatose

Prince Johan Friso and Princess Mabel. Image: Daily Telegraph
Prince Johan Friso, Queen Beatrix’s second son who has been under comatose for over 18 months, has passed away August 12. 

The Prince was born Johan Friso Bernhard Christiaan David van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg on Sept. 25, 1968 to then Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus.

He finished his secondary education at Eerste Vrijzinnig Christelijk Lyceum in The Hague in 1986 before spending two years (1986-88) at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied mechanical engineering. He transferred to Delft University of Technology in 1988 where he graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1994. He then moved to Erasmus University in Rotterdam, where he finished his master’s degree in economics. At that time, Prince Johan Friso was second in line to the throne, so in anticipation of a possible succession to the throne, he studied Dutch law and parliamentary history.

 Fresh from his post-graduate studies, Prince Johan Friso launched his career at the Amsterdam branch of the international management consultancy McKinsey. He later obtained an MBA degree at INSEAD and served as vice president for Goldman Sachs International in London from 1998 until 2003.

In 2004 he served as part-time co-president of TNO Space in Delft.

In 2006, he became one of the managing directors in the London office of Wolfensohn & Company, a private investment and advisory firm.

Prince Johan Friso cofounded the MRI Centre in Amsterdam. He is also a founding shareholder of Wizzair, one of the biggest low-cost airlines in Europe. Together with his younger brother Prince Constantijn, he sat honorary chairman of the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development. Before his accident in Austria, Prince Johan Friso served as chief financial officer for URENCO, a uranium enrichment company.

Prince Johan Friso lost his rights to inherit the throne, as well as his position as a member of the Royal House by virtue of the Act of Consent in 2004, after marrying Mabel Wisse Smit without the approval of Parliament.

According to Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, he had the opportunity to meet with Mabel Wisse Smit in October 2003 where she talked about the issue with her past relationship with Klaas Bruinsma (1953–1991), a known drug lord in the Netherlands. The Princess revealed that while she had a few months of contact with Bruinsma, however, their conversations casual and they never had an intimate relationship. In fact, she had severed her contact with Bruinsma after learning of his occupation.

This "breach of trust" was the reason why the government did not ask for Parliament’s support, respecting the wishes of the couple. The couple married anyway in Delft on April 24, 2004. Mabel Wisse Smit became a Princess and a member of the Dutch Royal Family, although she did not become an official member of the Dutch Royal House.

After their marriage, the couple settled on Kew in London.

Their marriage was blessed by two daughters: Countess Emma Luana Ninette Sophie of Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg (March 26, 2005 in London); and Countess Joanna Zaria Nicoline Milou of Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg (born June 18, 2006 in London).

On February 17, 2012, while on a holiday with his family in Lech, Austria, an avalanche occurred, which buried the prince while skiing off piste. He was immediately rushed to a hospital in Innsbruck, where his condition was pronounced critical but stable. However, neurological tests revealed that he suffered massive brain damage after oxygen shortage. The prince was in a minimally conscious state and never regained full consciousness until his death a year and a half later, on August 12, 2013.

Find out more on Prince Friso’s death:

The Royal Blogger

Christian George Acevedo is a book worm, mentor, and scholar of wide-ranging interests. He has authored hundreds of articles for various websites, and his expertise ranges from online marketing and finance to history, entertainment and many more. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr. Contact Christian at


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